Washington State Professional Development System


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If you care for and teach young children professionally or you’re interested in a career working with children and families, Washington’s professional development system can help you:

  • Learn what you need to know and be able to do when caring for children.

  • Manage your training and education record.

  • Find opportunities for training and education.

  • Find resources and financial support for your professional development.


Your Tools and Resources


Learn about MERIT

MERIT is an online tool that can help you:

  • Keep track of your education and training experience.

  • Find training opportunities by state-approved trainers.

  • Share your qualifications with current and future employers.

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Early Childhood Education Workforce Council

The Early Childhood Education Workforce Council focuses on ensuring that the degrees, certificates, and endorsements for early learning are progressive, valued, and transferable. To learn more about the council and the responsibilities of council members, view the Early Childhood Education Workforce Council overview.

Early Care and Education Substitute Pool 

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Family Child Care Licensee-Minimum Education Requirement Exception to the Rule Policy

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Professional Development Achievement Awards

You can submit your education for verification and apply for an achievement award in one easy application.
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Financial Support for Early Learning Professionals

In Washington, we can improve the quality of early learning programs by increasing the skills and education levels of those who work with children. Child care providers who participate in Early Achievers, Washington’s child care quality rating and improvement system, receive support and incentives to improve the quality of care they offer children and families.
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Plan Your Early Learning Career

DEL partnered with the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) to create a clear educational pathway for current and potential early learning professionals.
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Training Library for Early Learning Professionals

The professional development training library connects early learning professionals to online training opportunities.
Go to the Library >

Trainer and Training Approval

The trainer approval process is designed to promote quality training opportunities around the state and establish a consistent process for reviewing all trainers. State-approved trainers offer trainings that meet the required continuing education and Child Care Basics training.
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Core Competencies for Early Care and Education and School-age Professionals

In 2009, the Washington Legislature asked DEL to develop core competencies for early learning professionals. At the same time, School’s Out Washington developed companion core competencies for school-age professionals.
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Resource Gallery for Early Learning Professionals

A collection of resources for state approved trainers and professionals to use when offering classes or learning more about early care and education
Go to the Resource Gallery >

The Culturally Responsive Guidelines for Professional Development 

Every early learning professional in Washington has diverse strengths rooted in their unique culture, heritage, language, beliefs, and circumstances. See the 2016 guidelines submitted to the Washington Legislature regarding cultural responsiveness in professional development for early childhood education professionals.
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Relationship-based Professional Development Competencies 

Relationship-Based Professional Development (RBPD) Competencies describe the knowledge and skills that professionals must have to facilitate adult professional development within a reflective framework. 

Answers to Top Questions